I want to share some exciting news. We started saving our organic waste this week because we got our compost bin last FRIDAY! Cue happy composting dance!
But first, the obligatory recap for those that are new (welcome!) or those that would like a refresher:
Week 1 – An introduction to the challenge!
Week 2 – Our first weigh in
Week 3 – 3 Easy Ways to Start your Own Challenge (or just start weighing your trash)
Week 4 – Our favorite zero-waste products so far
Week 5 – 12 Resources for things you can do in 5 minutes or less to reduce waste + 2 free printables
Week 6– 5 easy ways to reduce gift wrap waste
We haven’t officially started adding to it because it requires assembly, and well, we, unfortunately, haven’t gotten around to it yet. And now as I type this, it is literally sleeting and snowing outside (don’t act so shocked, I am from Minnesota after all).
It is so nice to see some numbers in the food waste column finally!
So what are some challenges we have come up against with starting to save food waste?
- Knowing what type of food waste can go into the compost. Dairy and meat = no. Eggshells = grey area (but we are adding them). For more information on this, here is a GREAT list of 100 items you can compost.
- Remembering to save food scraps! This one wasn’t quite as much of a learning curve for us as remember to weigh everything was because I have been saving my veggie scraps for years to make my own vegetable stock. But, it is still a habit to throw some of the food waste away in the garbage, so just working towards breaking that.
- Getting our compost bin built! Ours is similar to the wooden ones in the picture below to help aid in air circulation, but that requires a little assembly.
- Figuring out what to store our food waste in before we take it out. Since we aren’t actually taking our food waste out yet, we needed to figure out what we could store the food in so it wouldn’t smell up our house. We (pleasantly) discovered using an oatmeal container works great! As of right now, we are keeping our food waste in the fridge until we can get our compost built.
- Trying to determine how much ‘brown’ we need to balance out our ‘green’ waste. Brown and green what? To have an effective compost pile, you need a good balance of green and brown waste. Examples of green waste are grass clippings and food scraps, brown examples include leaves, cardboard, coffee grounds, etc. To check out a great infographic on composting and the difference between green and brown waste, click here. We are starting to get a good pile of ‘green’ waste, but need to make sure we have enough ‘brown’ to balance it out.
- Sorting organic waste from ‘other’ waste in our bathrooms. Based on our trash audit we did in our bathrooms, facial tissue and toilet paper rolls were the most commonly found waste items. These items are compostable! This week we have tried (and I’ll admit, not done a very good job) about keeping these items separate from the other bathroom waste (floss, toothpaste tubes). I know, just like the first couple weeks of the challenge, it will be a habit we will develop over time.
I am looking forward to seeing how our numbers continue to go down as we work towards more composting!
Do you compost? And if so, what compost tips would you share with someone just starting out?